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Valhalla's Wake: The IRA, M16, and the Assassination of a Young American Paperback – September 1, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Loftus and McIntyre are, respectively, a Boston lawyer and a retired professional spy for West Germany. The book is mainly about the latter's son, John McIntyre, a likable young man who grew up in the Boston area, became involved in Mafia drug trafficking, then threw in his lot with the Irish Republican Army. Arrested for his part in an attempted transfer of arms to an Irish ship in mid-Atlantic, he purportedly fell victim to an arrangement between the American and British governments and was last seen on November 30, 1984. The authors, with John McIntyre Sr., also a retired spy, convincingly claim to have uncovered evidence that the young man was assassinated by British agents to protect an in-place mole. Loftus declares that "the two governments painted a bull's-eye on John McIntyre's back and they didn't even tell him." The book is a high-powered narrative about multiple betrayal that reads at times like a le Carre novel with dialogue by George V. Higgins.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

John McIntyre was a young, bright American whose idealistic support for the Irish cause helped lead him along the dark byways of the Boston harbor and into a life of drug running and arms smuggling. He could not have chosen worse playmates than the IRA, the Boston Mafia, British intelligence, and incompetent and warring American law enforcement agencies. After the arms-carrying Irish vessel S.S. Valhalla was intercepted by British intelligence, McIntyre was secretly assassinated by the British (his body was never found), made to take the fall to protect the true British mole on board. McIntyre's tale is vividly told by Loftus, McIntyre's lawyer and also author of The Belarus Secret ( LJ 12/15/82), and McIntyre's mother, who herself worked as an international spy. Tragic, yes; inevitable, probably. Sordid incident? Major expose? A little of both.
- H. Steck, SUNY Coll. at Cortland
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (September 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061000779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061000775
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 3.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matt Angelucci on May 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book was very good reading. However, the author's description of events turned out not to be true. McIntyre's remains have been found. Whitey Bulger and the Winter Hill Gang are almost certainly responsible. SAS assassins on American soil? MI6 moles in Boston's underworld? As it turns out, it wasn't like that. What motivated the author and others to come up with this story in the first place? The answer to that question would make for an interesting book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By john vitiello on August 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read the book first 25 years ago. Now the Whitey Bulger Trial exposed the truth of what could not have been known way back then. I had given the book away and wanted to read it again and with todays knowledge of the facts I enjoyed it twice as much.
The book was recieved inexcellant condition and i am satisfied.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Greenknight01 on May 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This wonderful piece of fiction details the seamy underbelly of Boston and the murder of a young man on the wrong side of the law and the balance of power. The problem with this book is that it combines known facts about the Irish Mob in Boston and then mixes it to create a fiction based inference, false conclusions and an ending stright out of a Hollywood Scritwriter's typewriter! Most likely the tragic hero of the book was murdered by the mob in Boston. The Winter Hill gang could come to mind here. Why did the "Irish Mob" get away with their activities for so long? Prehaps the FBI knew what was really happening in Boston and someone like Buldger was the source of information. They would have known when the illegal drugs were coming into New England and when the guns were going out to IRA from Boston. Most all of this smuggling activity was by sea. The FBI's intellgence arm in turn may have been feeding the information to their counterparts in British Intelligence and the Scotland Yard Special Branch. This is one possible explaination as to why Bulger was able to get away with his criminal activities for so long right under the nose of the Justice Department. How many more bodies of murdered people still lie burried around Boston? If Budger is still alive, he may never be caught because it he may prove to be too much of an embarrassment to those who were in power and compromise the special relationship with our closest ally. Another fictional conclusion you might suppose? Well, maybe but if you look at the fact pattern you may come away believing the plausiblity of this explaination as well. I recommend the works of Tim Pat Coogan on the IRA and Howie Carr's book on the Boston Mob instead of this book. Both of these author's solid and well researched books can be found here on
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